Organisational Routines: A Relook Based on Our Understanding of Human Skills

14 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2016 Last revised: 2 Nov 2016

Date Written: September 19, 2016


Organizational routines are considered the basis for variation in activates across firms. They are important in explaining core organizational phenomenon of stability, change, flexibility, learning and transfer. This concept is still under evolution as consensus on its dimensions, functions and characteristics are still elusive.

To redress this issue we compare this concept with the concept of routines/skills in human beings and transfer learning from neurophysiology of human routines to organizational routines. We propose that routines in organizational contexts reside in humans who are members of these organizations. These recurrent interactive patterns can occur at an individual or collective level and are linked to a specific task. Routines are selectable and such a selection occurs through practice and is linked to the utility value of the routine.

By this fundamental change in definition, the issues presently linked to organizational routines stand resolved thereby facilitating its use as a unit of analysis in management research. This opens up the use of it to explain core organizational phenomenon of change, strategy implementation and performance, training transfers and the evolution of corporate strategy.

Keywords: automatic processing, task linkage, organizational change and performance

Suggested Citation

Narayana, Bhyrovabhotla V. L., Organisational Routines: A Relook Based on Our Understanding of Human Skills (September 19, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Bhyrovabhotla V. L. Narayana (Contact Author)

Centre for Railway Information Systems ( email )

Centre For Railway Information systems , chanakya
New Delhi, delhi 110021
9971077115 (Phone)
9971077115 (Fax)

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